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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Ten Indians on UAE death row await pardon decision

Ten young Indian workers in Al Ain jail, convicted of murdering a Pakistani worker, are expected to learn whether they will be pardoned as early as next month.

The Al Ain Appeals Court on Wednesday completed the hearing in the case and adjourned the matter to May 25 to pronounce the verdict, head of an Indian charity involved in the case, told Gulf News on Wednesday.

The court is expected to issue a verdict on the letter of consent submitted by the family of the Pakistani victim to pardon the accused Indians, said S.P.S. Oberoi, chairman of Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust, that donated the blood money for the accused men.

Oberoi, a Dubai-based businessman, said he has already saved 78 Asian men who were convicted of murder in the UAE from death row by paying blood money on their behalf to their victims' families.

"With my experience in similar cases, I will tell you that their death penalty will be commuted because the victims' family has already given the pardon. We are expecting the verdict on what other punishment, possibly imprisonment or fine for their crimes including bootlegging and fighting, to be given to the convicts," he said.

As Gulf News first reported on December 8, 2016, the murder allegedly occurred during a brawl over bootlegging in Al Ain in December 2015.

11 men from the Indian state of Punjab were convicted in the case but 1 was spared the death sentence.

On March 22, the father of the victim had appeared in the court and submitted the letter of consent.

Oberoi, who is also from Punjab, had deposited Dh200,000 in blood money on behalf of the accused at the court.

Oberoi's Pakistani manager had travelled to Peshawar in Pakistan and talked to the victim's family and their relatives to secure the pardon.

An Indian Embassy official said the embassy was closely following the case.

"We are waiting for the verdict," said Dinesh Kumar, counsellor, Community Affairs at the embassy.

Oberoi said some of the convicts did not have valid passports.

"I will request the embassy to issue them emergency travel documents, once they are released from jail. They have been in jail since July 2015 and that time will be deducted from their punishment to be pronounced next month," he said.

Source: Gulf News, April 21, 2017

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